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Please join us in celebrating Lucy Munro's Professorship appointment.
In the winter of 1623, a freshly published volume appeared on the stalls of London’s booksellers: Mr William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories & Tragedies. Shakespeare had died in 1616, and the preface to the ‘first folio’ is signed by John Heminges and Henry Condell, two of Shakespeare’s closest friends and collaborators. Heminges and Condell’s careers tell of family trauma, feud and betrayal, of infighting among actors and theatrical entrepreneurs, of the fraught social position of actors in Elizabethan and Jacobean society, and of the interactions between the theatre industry and the world beyond. They also illuminate some of the most pressing questions in literary studies today – questions about gender, race, social class and Britain’s relationship with its past.
By following the paper trail that Heminges and Condell left in wills, inventories, official records and lawsuits, this lecture will reveal a theatrical milieu in which women played crucial roles and in which financial investment connected playhouses with circles of business, trade and colonisation. In doing so, it will offer new contexts for the folio and its plays, and for Shakespeare’s career as actor and dramatist.
The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.
Lucy Munro studied for her MA and PhD at King’s, returning in 2013 to take up a lectureship in the Department of English. She has written three books about early modern literature and culture, Children of the Queen’s Revels: A Jacobean Theatre Repertory (2005), Archaic Style in English Literature, 1590-1674 (2013) and Shakespeare in the Theatre: The King’s Men (2020), and she is a member of the collaborative research projects, ‘Before Shakespeare’ and ‘Engendering the Stage’. She is currently working on an edition of Shakespeare’s The First Part of King Henry IV and researching the careers of early modern actors, impresarios, investors and their families.